Russian Aerospace Forces will receive a “large” number of Su-57 stealth fighters in 2020 as per schedule, brushing aside speculations that the first Su-57 crash on Tuesday could derail the delivery schedule.
"The first large-scale deliveries of the fifth-generation Su-57 aircraft will begin in 2020. Of course, these are challenging tasks that will truly mobilize us," Sergey Chemezov, CEO of state-run Rostec, was quoted as saying by local media on Thursday.
On December 24, Russia’s most advanced jet till date, the Su-57, crashed allegedly during manufacturer's "delivery trials" near Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the country's far east. The incident marked the first total loss of a Su-57 jet, although one of the type's T-50 prototypes was allegedly badly damaged due to an engine fire in 2014. The accident was thought to delay the delivery of the Su-57 jets to the military.
In May 2019, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that manufacturers slashed prices of Su-57 aircraft and equipment by 20%, which provided the opportunity to purchase 76 Su-57 jets. The value of the contract, signed at the Army-2019 Forum, is reportedly $2.7 billion.
A week before the crash, an official from Rostec said that the Su-57 jet completed 16 flights equipped with its new, powerful engine dubbed "Item 30."
The Su-57 has been tested under combat situations in Syria, with the Chief of the Russian General Staff Valery Gerasimov having confirmed two of such tests as recently as last week. "Trials of Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jets continue. They were once again tested in Syria, and all planned tasks were successfully fulfilled," Krasnaya Zvezda reported, quoting Gerasimov as saying on December 18.